Happy New Year! It’s at this time of year that a lot of us look back and reflect on the past 12 months. I’ve been doing the same and looking back over all my London discoveries and adventures this year. I would like to thank all the people who have read, shared and commented on my posts this year. I blog on the side of a demanding full-time job so admittedly it is very tricky at times to juggle both. It is down to your feedback and response which spurs me on when I have moments where I think I don’t have time to do both.
Taking my listings guides out of the equation, here’s Metro Girl’s most popular blog posts of 2015.
Wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year and see you in 2016 for more London adventures.
Love Metro Girl
This is last year’s guide. For the 2016/2017 guide to New Year’s Eve in London, click here.
Can you believe 2015 is nearly over? Many people can’t wait to put the year to bed once and for all, but why not say goodbye in style and welcome 2016 with a bang. For those who want something a bit more exciting than staying in a M&S Meal For Two and Jools Holland, there’s a host of celebrations, from clubbing, to meals and fancy dress or fireworks, depending on your taste and budget. With all the listings below, I would highly recommend booking in advance to take advantage of some early bird prices and to avoid disappointment as many will sell out. Many events won’t be taking walk-ups. The festivities have divided into the best events in Central, North, South, East and West London to help you plan your last night of 2015.
Don’t forget, TFL will be providing free public transport from 11.45pm on New Year’s Eve until 4.30am on New Year’s Day.
- New Year’s Eve firework display over the River Thames
Thousands expected to take to the north and south of the River to watch the fireworks display near the London Eye. Since 2014, City Hall has introduced a £10 fee to cover costs. Tickets went on sale in early December. There will be a lot of congestion or potential closures of some tube stations around the Embankments so check with TFL before you travel. For more information of where you can and can’t access without a ticket, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- Bourne & Hollingsworth Presents: The Midnight Ball
Step back in time to a time of balls, princesses and heroes. Featuring live music, cocktail bar, DJs and horse-drawn carriage rides. Dress code: Black tie for men and cocktail dresses/ballgowns for ladies. 9pm–3am. Early bird £50, General admission £60 (9pm – 3am), Cocktail and canapé reception plus general admission – £90, (7pm – 3am, includes glass of champagne on arrival, canapés and bowl food from 7.30pm). The Dutch Hall, 7 Austin Friars, City of London, EC2N 2HA. Nearest station: Liverpool Street or Bank. For tickets, visit Ticketporte.
- New Year’s Eve Stand Up Show – Comedy Store
Start your night off with some comedy from MC Paul Thorne, Mike Gunn, Pete Johansson, Marlon Davis and Rob Deering. After you’ve laughed yourself silly, there will a DJ spinning tracks after for some dancing. Doors open at 5pm, 2 shows at 6pm and 9.30pm. Tickets £29-£49. The Comedy Store, 1a Oxendon Street, SW1Y 4EE. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Comedy Store website.
- Prohibition 1920s New Year’s Eve party
Say hello to 2016 in 1920s style at this prohibition-themed party, includes live music, gramophone DJs, gambling, dancers and cocktails. Must dress in 1920s costume. 9pm-2am. Tickets: £45. In a secret London location. For more information, visit the Bourne And Hollingsworth website.
- Cahoots presents a New Year’s Eve Knees-Up
Welcome in 2016 in post-war style, with a champagne reception, entertainment from Hotsie Totsies and DJ Emilio playing fabulous jazz and lindyhop. 8pm-4am. Tickets: £120 (bar), £150 (table) – Includes Moët Et Chandon champagne reception, bottomless Belvedere cocktails, bottle of house spirits for two, plus food rations served all evening. Dress code: Debonair vintage. Cahoots, 13 Kingly Court, Soho, W1B 5PW. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For booking, visit the Cahoots website. For Metro Girl’s review of Cahoots, click here.
- Amor Boat Party
Party as you cruise down the Thames, while having the best view of the capital’s fireworks on this four-hour boat party. House music by Amor and Space DJs over two decks. Boat party 8.30pm-1am, After-party @ Konnect in Victoria from 8pm-6am. Tickets: £25-£115. Boat departs from Westminster Pier. Nearest station: Westminster. For more information, visit the Amor Boat Party website.
With all the partying and shopping in the run-up to Christmas, it can be easy for the season’s true message to get lost amidst all the pomp. So why not venture to Devonshire Square in the City of London this month for a dose of Christmas revelry while celebrating the spirit of giving.
For those who don’t know, Devonshire Square is a relaxing space on the edge of the City, full of historic Georgian townhouses and converted 18th century warehouses. As well as a host of restaurants, bars, galleries and more, its open courtyard is a hub of activity and entertainment. Among the restaurants on site include Hix City, Marco Pierre White Steak & Alehouse and Cinnamon Kitchen.
At the centre of attention in Devonshire Square this festive season will be the Christmas Wishing Tree, decorated with paper hearts featuring handwritten wishes from those in need. Visitors can read the wishes and pledge to make it come true by writing ‘honoured’ on the hearts. For every wish granted, a floating candle with be lit and released into the fountain in the Western Courtyard on 22 December. The granted wishes will then be given to homeless charity The Connection on Christmas Day.
As well as offering an opportunity for you to do your bit for those less fortunate, there will also be a host of free live entertainment over December.
- Thursday 10 December @ 12.30pm : The High Society Brass Band
Part of an 80-piece marching band, they will be playing popular classical, pop and jazz hits while wearing their Christmas jumpers.
- Monday 14 December @ 6pm : The Constanza Chorus
Local choral society will be singing to raise money for the Help Musicians UK charity
- Tuesday 15 December @ 12.30pm : Tenori
Talented trio of internationally acclaimed opera singers (Alexander Grove, Nicholas Ransley and John Hudson) will be performing.
- Tuesday 22 December @ 12.30pm : Sammie Jay and Wishing Tree Ceremony
The floating candles will be lit for each wish honoured on the Wishing Tree, while singer/songwriter Sammie Jay will rouse the audience will her powerful voice.
- Devonshire Square, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street, Aldgate or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
For a guide to what else is on in London this December, click here.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
In the run up to Christmas, it’s the busiest time in most Londoners’ social calendars. No doubt many friends will be meeting for a cocktail (or three) in one of the capital’s various bars. With so many venues, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to places to drink. However, if you’re looking for something extra festive, why not sip on a Christmas-themed cocktail?
Here’s Metro Girl’s round-up of the top Christmas cocktails on offer in London this season:
- Piste at Archer Street
Head downstairs at Soho’s Archer Street to their festive pop-up ski lodge bar Piste. Their festive tipple is the ‘Aspen’ (Beefeater 24 gin with kumquat marmalade, nettle tea concentrate, fresh lemon juice, egg white and a dash of orange bitters).
For a night out with a difference, head to Soho’s secret drinking den Cahoots, which recreates post-WW2 London in a ‘tube station’. The drinks menu is heavily influenced by wartime tipples, with two seasonal creations to get you in the spirit. The ‘White Cloves of Dover’ (Clove-and-orange-infused Pampero Añejo Especial rum, Amontillado sherry, homemade cinnamon syrup, lime juice, cranberry juice & raspberries) or ‘Welcome Back to Blighty’ (Orange-and-clove-infused Pampero Añejo Especial rum, pumpkin purée, lemon juice, saffron syrup and egg white).
- Barrio Central
Soho’s Latin party palace Barrio – which has recently been refurbished – has given the Pina Colada a festive makeover – the ‘Gingerbread Colada’ (Santa Teresa Gran Reserva Rum with pineapple and coconut, garnished with a gingerbread man) at £8.50.
Barrio Central, 6 Poland St, Soho, W1F 8PS. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus
- The Lobby Bar @ One Aldwych
Enjoy a touch of luxury at the lavish Lobby Bar at the One Aldwych Hotel. They’ve teamed up with Four Roses Bourbon to create four limited-edition drinks at £13.50 each: ‘Almond Warmer’ (Amaretto, Antica Formula, Angostura Bitters, pomegranate syrup, sugar syrup and fresh lemon juice), ‘Winter Wonderland’ (Dom de Canton, Cherry Heering, Chuncho Bitters, wild berry syrup, cinnamon, sugar syrup and fresh lemon juice topped with cinnamon foam), ‘Bourbon Goose’ (Grey Goose Orange, Benedictine, orange blossom, grenadine and sugar syrup) or Rockin’ Robin (Calvados, Green Chartreuse, ginger and lemongrass cordial, Angostura Bitters, sugar syrup and fresh lemon juice). On sale until 31 January 2016.
One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, Covent Garden, WC2B 4BZ. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Temple.
- Foundation Bar
Covent Garden’s late night party bar have created the ‘Fizzmas Cracker’ (G.H. Mumm Champagne, muddled mandarin and raspberries with a dash of cinnamon syrup) at £8.50. Or if you fancy a sweet shot instead, try the ‘Elf Kick’ (Eristoff vodka, Chambord and raspberry puree) at £3.
Foundation Bar, 5 Langley Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9JA. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square.
- Mr Fogg’s Residence
Step into the past at eccentric British adventurer Mr Fogg’s Residence for some old world charm. Their festive offering is ‘Artic – Ulated Victory’ (Reyka vodka, Grand Marnier liqueur, Cinnamon liqueur, Raspberry purée, fresh lime juice, home-made mulled wine syrup and apple juice).
Mr Foggs Residence, 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, W1J 6JD. Nearest station: Green Park or Mayfair.
- The Jam Tree
The two Jam Trees at Clapham and Chelsea will be rolling about a selection of dessert-based cocktails for the winter season, including ‘Apple Crumble’ and the ‘The Netflix And Chill’ (vanilla vodka, butterscotch liqueur, caramel and lemon served in a popcorn cup) at £9.50.
The Jam Tree (Chelsea), 13 Old Town, Clapham, SW4 0JT. Nearest station: Clapham Common. The Jam Tree (Chelsea) 541 Kings Rd, Chelsea, SW6 2EB. Nearest station: Imperial Wharf or Fulham Broadway.
- Cocktail Trading Company (Smithfield)
The newest branch of the Cocktail Trading Company in Smithfield has the mixologists creating an indulgent drinkable dessert in the form of the ‘Chocolate Flip’ (Bacardi 8 year rum, cacao-infused Chartreuse, tawny port, pistachio ice cream served with a chocolate truffle and biscuit wafer) at £9.
The Cocktail Trading Co, 50-52 Long Lane, Smithfields, EC1A 9EJ. Nearest station: Farringdon or Barbican.
- Dirty Martini
All seven branches of the Dirty Martini bars will be serving five Christmas cocktails. ‘Winter Tiramisu’ (Absolut Vodka, Martell VS Cognac & Kahlua shaken with Mozart White, Crème de Cacao and double cream), ‘Christmas Old Fashioned (Jim Beam Bourbon with Pimento Dram and ginger syrup, spiced with cloves & star anise, garnished with a vial of cinnamon infused Legavulin Scotch Whiskey), ‘Bell Ringer’ (blood orange syrup, fresh cranberry juice, Amaretto and Prosecco), ‘Dirty Grinch’ (Havana 3yr Rum, Crème de Cacao, Butterscotch Schnapps with mint, double cream and Crème de Menthe) and Winterberry Beamer (Jim Beam Bourbon, Manzanilla Sherry and Pimento Dram, with blackberries, vanilla sugar, pomegranate juice, lemon juice and egg white).
Dirty Martini, branches in Bishopsgate, Clapham, Covent Garden, Hanover Square, Islington, Monument and St Paul’s.
For Metro Girl’s review of Christmas cocktails at Ask For Janice, click here.
To find out about London’s New Year’s Eve parties and events, click here.
For a guide to what’s on in London in January 2016, click here.
Or for listings of London’s festive ice rinks, click here.
Returning to London this month is the Spitalfields Music Winter Festival 2015, bringing together local and international musicians. Straddling the border of the City of London and the East End, a host of concerts and special events for adults and families will taking be place across E1 over the 12 day festival. While there’ll be plenty of music on offer, there will also be a pop-up dining club, a walking tour, a film screening and interesting talks.
Among the highlights of this year’s festival are The Riot Ensemble – who mix the classics of Bach with world premieres of new music. Led by Serbian-Swedish composer Djuro Zivkovic, the ensemble will also performing a composition by the festival’s youngest composer 10-year-old Marie-Louise Ptohos. 7 December.
Take a lively journey across the Baltics with instrumental group She’Koyokh, bringing together winter music, traditional Eastern European melodies, stomping klezmer music and a puppeteer. 10 December.
For those who like something a bit different, why not visit the House Of Love. Inspired by Angela Carter’s short story The Lady of the House of Love is a special collaboration between choreographer and dancer Ella Robson Guilfoyle and composer and installation artist Mira Calix. 7 December.
If you fancy some fine food with your music, pop-up supper club Disappearing Dining Club is appearing at the festival for one night only. Diners will be treated to a cocktail apéritif and three-course meal in the historic surrounds of Shoreditch Church of St Leonard’s while listening to contemporary singer/songwriter Mara Carlyle and viola player Liam Byrne. 5 December.
For those feeling festive and prefer more traditional music, the Marian Consort is a traditional choir performing Renaissance music inspired by the visitation of shepherds at the nativity. 14 December.
Throughout the festival, keep your eyes peeled for the Rocking Chairs, an installation by Dutch sound artists Strijbos & Van Rijswijk. A modern rocking chair will pop up at various locations around Spitalfields, bringing the listener through a kaleidoscope of sounds, while creating a good selfie opportunity.
- Spitalfields Music Winter Festival runs from 4 – 15 December 2015. Tickets start from £5. Discounts include 25% off for 16-25 year olds, £5 students for best seats available and Tower Hamlet residents can attend for free. For more information and tickets, visit the Spitalfields Music website.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.
It’s one of the busiest months of the year with all the preparing, shopping and partying in the run up to Christmas. The end of the month is one of the rare times the capital appears to turn into somewhat of a ghost town, with the streets and bars of London quieter than usual. Then of course, come New Year’s Eve, the city is packed with revellers preparing to say goodbye to 2015. Whether you like your festive fun or not, there’s plenty of activities and festivals on around the capital this month.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
For a guide to what’s on in London this New Year’s Eve, click here.
To read about London’s best festive cocktails, click here.
For a guide to London’s open-air ice rinks, click here.
- 30 November – 2 December : London Lift-Off Film Festival
The London branch of the international Lift-Off Film Festival, which gives a platform to independent filmmakers. Screenings taking place nightly. Charlotte Street Hotel, Fitzrovia, W1T 1RJ. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road or Goodge Street. For more information, visit the Lift-Off Film Festival website.
- 1 December : Trader Vic’s Tiki Cinema
Monthly film screenings at tiki bar in Park Lane, with December’s movie Home Alone. Film starts at 7.30pm, food is served from 6pm. Tickets: £13 (including screening and a cocktail). Trader Vic’s, 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1BE. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Trader Vic’s London website.
- 1 – 5 December : Pig’s Ear Beer Festival
Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA at the Round Chapel in Hackney. Over 200 beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Open from noon until 11pm. Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, Hackney, E5 0PU. Nearest station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. For more information, visit the Pig’s Ear website.
- 1 – 22 December : Christmas @ Devonshire Square
Over Christmas, the historic and relaxing setting of Devonshire Square in the City will be hosting free live entertainment by the Christmas Wishing Tree, offering you the chance to make wishes come true for those less fortunate. Devonshire Square, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street, Aldgate or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post to find out more.
- 3 December : Shepherd Market Christmas Party
Christmas Party at Shepherd Market and Piazza, featuring Michael Palin switching on the lights. Featuring Christmas shopping, live music, carol singers, food and drink, treasure hunt and Santa’s Grotto Dress Up Photobooth. Free entry. 6-10pm. Shepherd Market, Mayfair, W1J 7QU. Nearest station: Green Park. For more information, visit the Shepherd Market Guide.
- 3 December : Seven Dials & St Martin’s Courtyard Christmas Shopping Party
Over 100 shops in the Seven Dials and St Martin’s Courtyard area will be taking place in a special shopping event, featuring makeovers, treatments, live music, in-store activities and performances, festive food and drinks and 20% off in store. 5-9pm. Register on the website for your free discount ticket. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website.
- 3 December – 3 January 2016 : Christmas at Trafalgar Square
After the lighting of the Christmas Tree on 3 December (a gift from Norway), there is daily carol singing in the Square between 7 – 23 December and the Blessing of the Crib on 8 December. Carol singing between 4-8pm weekdays and 2-6pm weekends. Free. Trafalgar Square. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Embankment. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- 4 – 6 December : London Illustration Fair
Three day event celebrating illustration, featuring artist-led stands, workshops, DJs and pop-up food stalls. Entry: £5. Open Fri-Sat 12-8pm, Sun 12-6pm. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bankside, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars or Waterloo . For more information, visit the London Illustration Fair website.
- 4 – 6 December : Chocolate Festival
A celebration of all things chocolate, with tastings, lessons on how to make your own chocolate, recipes, masterclasses and plenty of opportunity to purchase chocolate. Friday: 1-8pm, Saturday 10am–7pm, Sunday 10am–3pm. Tickets: £7 in advance, £8 on the door. Business Design Centre, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest tube: Angel. For more information, visit the Chocolate Festival website.
- 4 – 6 December : BBC Good Food Festive Fayre
BBC Good Food Show brings a new festive event to the historic surroundings of Hampton Court Palace. As well as food and drink exhibitors, there will also be a chef’s kitchen and the chance to find out the history of the palace. Tickets (include Fayre and Palace): Adults £15.50, Children £7.75. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the BBC Good Food Festive Fayre website.
With December only a week away, it’s no surprise that many London attractions are getting a festive makeover in the run up to Christmas. One such landmark taking part in the Yuletide fun is the London Eye, with their Frostival returning for the third year. I went to the launch last week and it really got me in the festive spirit.
For those of you budding Torvill and Deans, the Eyeskate open-air ice rink is back so you can glide across the ice under the shadow of the twinkling London Eye. Seasoned skaters are welcome to bring their own skates or you can borrow a pair. There’ll also be a bar serving drinks for after you’ve caught your breath.
Meanwhile, for those who prefer their ice strictly with a drink instead, visitors can enjoy a special Winter Cocktail Experience on the London Eye. The award-winning Cocktail Trading Co will be mixing up special drinks, such as a ‘Merry Stockings’, a ‘Candy Cobbler’ or a ‘Punsch and Judy’ for you to sip while enjoying stunning views of the capital in one of the Eye’s pods. You’ll also enjoy priority boarding, one hour on the Eye and some nibbles.
For those in the mood for romance, two can enjoy the Mistletoe Cupid’s Capsule. You’ll be hosted in your very own pod with chilled Pommery Brut Royal Champagne and luxury Hotel Chocolat pink Champagne truffles, with a bouquet of mistletoe strategically placed for a kiss or two!
- Eyeskate is taking place from 14 November – 2 January 2016, while the Winter Cocktail Experience is available on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only from 14 November – 2 January 2016. Eyeskate tickets start £9.45 (adults) and £6.75 (children). London Eye ticket upgrades from £9. London Eye, Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information, visit the London Eye website.
When it comes to looking for Christmas presents, many of us are tired of the same old stuff flogged at the high street chains and want to find something a bit more original or unique. Well, fortunately Christmas markets are more popular than ever with long-term and one-off and weekend ones popping up all over the capital. As well as giving you the opportunity to browse dozens of stalls, many also have plenty of festive fun and entertainment to really get you in the mood.
For a guide to open-air ice rinks in London, click here.
To read about London’s best festive cocktails, click here.
- 19 November – 3 January 2016 : Winter Wonderland Market
Winter Wonderland features a fun fair, food, drink, circus and an ice rink in Hyde Park over the festive period and includes a German market selling gifts too. Free entry. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch or Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website. For a blog post on Metro Girl’s visit to Winter Wonderland, click here.
- 20 November – 24 December : South Bank Winter Market
Wooden chalets selling festive food, drink, gifts and treats alongside the riverbank on the South Bank. There’s also the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge pop-up bar in the car park. Free. Open Sun-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm. Queen’s Walk and Hungerford Car Park, South Bank. SE1. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information, visit the South Bank London website.
- 20 November – 3 January 2016 : Weekend Christmas Market @ Wembley
Every weekend in the run-up to the Christmas and New Year period, there will be a festive market with food and drink. Free entry. Wembley Park Boulevard, Wembley, HA9 0QL. Nearest station: Wembley Stadium or Wembley Park. For more information, visit the Wembley website.
- 26 November – 23 December : Christmas Markets @ Winterville
Christmas markets and bazaar will be on at the alternative festive wonderland in East London. There will also be an ice rink, pantomime, cinema, circus, crazy golf, fairground and Spiegeltent. Free entry. Opening hours vary. Winterville, Victoria Park, Grove Road, Bow, E9 7DD. Nearest station: Hackney Wick, Mile End or Cambridge Heath. For more information, visit the Winterville website.
- 30 November – 3 January 2016 : London Bridge Festive Market
A market featuring food, drink, craft stalls and live entertainment across The Scoop, Hay’s Galleria and London Bridge City Pier. Free entry. Open 10am-8pm. Queen’s Walk and Hay’s Galleria, SE1 2DB. Nearest tube: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the More London website.
- 4 – 20 December : Barbican Christmas Market
The Barbican’s foyers will be transformed into a (indoor!) Christmas shopping extravaganza with independent stalls selling quality vintage and designer clothes, arts and crafts, jewellery, books and toys. Free entry. 12-8pm. Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican or Moorgate. For more information, visit the Barbican website.
- 4 – 20 December : Islington Christmas Market
Over 60 exhibitors selling gifts and crafts, food stalls and a Santa’s Grotto. Free entry. Islington Green, Islington, N1. Nearest station: Angel or Highbury & Islington. For more information, visit the Islington Christmas Market website.
One-off or short-term Christmas fairs
- 11 – 15 November : Country Living Christmas
Handmade gifts from hundreds of artisan designers and makers. There will also be a lifestyle theatre with experts giving talks and demonstrations. Tickets: Adults £10-£14, Children £8. Opening times vary. Business Design Centre, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and tickets, visit the Country Living Fair website.
- 18 – 19 November : Operation Smile Christmas Fair
Over 40 stalls selling gifts, clothing, decorations, gourmet food and drinks at the historic Fulham Palace. Admission: £20 on 18 Nov preview (including wine and canapés), £5 on 19 Nov. Open for 18 Nov preview 6.30pm-9.30pm, Open 19 Nov 10.30am-8pm. Fulham Palace, Bishop’s Avenue, Fulham, SW6 6EA. Nearest station: Putney Bridge. For more information, visit the Operation Smile website.
- 20 and 22 November : Made In Blackheath Christmas Fair
Local craftmakers and artists sell their wares at an indoor Christmas market. Open Fri 20 9am-4.30pm, Sun 22 9.30am-2pm. Bianco 43 Restaurant, 1-3 Lee Road, Blackheath Village, SE3 9RQ. Nearest station: Blackheath. For more information, visit the Made In Blackheath Facebook page.
- 21 November : Christmas Market @ St John at Hampstead
Christmas market in Hampstead, featuring gift, treats and presents and children’s activities. 11am-2pm. St John-at-Hampstead Church, Church Row, Hampstead, NW3 6UU. Nearest station: Hampstead. For more information, visit the church website.
- 21 November : Christmas Bazaar @ Dulwich Picture Gallery
Over 40 local artisans will be selling crafts, pottery, jewellery, toiletries and more. Free entry. 10am-5pm. St Barnabas Parish Hall, Dulwich Village, SE21 7BT. Nearest station: North Dulwich or West Dulwich. For more information, visit the Dulwich Picture Gallery website.
The Christmas period seems to be hurtling towards us at full speed, which means the capital is getting a festive makeover. One of the most popular winter activities is visiting some of London’s open air ice rinks. Many rinks have lessons and penguin aids for those less confident balancing on the blades. As well as the rink, many of the venues offer pop-up cafes and Christmas markets so you can warm up after a swirl – or fall – on the ice. Here’s a guide to London’s rinks this winter.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
- 29 October – 3 January 2016 : Natural History Museum Swarovski Ice Rink
A 1,000 square metre rink in the gardens of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Opening hours vary. Session times last 1 hour. Adults from £15.95, Children 12 and under from £11. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest tube: South Kensington. To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.
- 31 October – 27 February 2016 : Ice Rink Canary Wharf
Skate in the middle of the soaring skyscrapers on Canary Wharf and surrounded by shops. Non-skaters can watch the action from a heated viewing terrace. Session times last 1 hour. Opening times vary. Adults £14.95, Children £9.95. Canada Square, E14 5AB. Nearest tube Canary Wharf. To book, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.
- 14 November – 3 January 2016 : Eyeskate @ London Eye
Skate in a raised rink in the park shadowed by the London Eye as part of their Frostival. Open daily from 10am until 9pm. Session times last 45 minutes . Tickets start from £9.45. London Eye, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, Southbank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. To book, visit the London Eye website. For Metro Girl’s post on the Frostival, click here
- 16 November – 25 February 2016 : Broadgate Ice
Temporary ice rink at Broadgate Circle in the City of London is open for over three months. This year’s rink will be accompanied by a pop-up Alpine Bar, where you can warm up and enjoy a Choc-tail and cheese or chocolate fondue. Open 10am-10pm. Session times last 1 hour. Adults £13, Children £9. Broadgate Ice Rink, Exchange Square EC2A 2BQ. Nearest tube: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit Broadgate’s website.
- 18 November – 10 January 2016 : Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason
One of the original pop-up ice rinks located in the courtyard of Somerset House. As well as general skating, they also host club nights on ice and skate lessons. Session times last 1 hour and are from 10am until 10.30pm (later for club nights and New Year’s Eve). Adults and Children start from £8.85. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple. To book, visit the Somerset House website.